Thesis: The analysis puts into view the use of dramatic monologue to illustrate the nature of the main character and the themes and the literary merit of My Last Duchess by Richard Browning.
My Last Duchess by Robert Browning
The poem, My Last Duchess, by Richard Browning, presents a dramatic monologue where the speaker is assumed to be entertaining a guest who has visited him to discuss his marriage with a daughter of a wealthy family. The Duke is bereaved after the death of his young wife. When showing the visitor areas in his palace, they stop next to the portrait of his last Duchess which he describes as that piece of wonder, (Browning, 2017). The Duke then begins to recall about the sessions of the portrait and his marriage to the late Duchess. He tells the visitor that the Duchess entertained everyone and failed to acknowledge his gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name, (Browning, 2017). The Duke then reveals that he was responsible for the Duchess death after her behavior became intolerable. After the revelation, he begins to talk about the next marriage. Both the Duke and the visitor then walk away from the portrait as the Duke shows the visitor his other collections. The analysis puts into view the use of dramatic monologue to illustrate the nature of the main character and the themes and the literary merit of My Last Duchess by Richard Browning.
Richard Browning is known for using dramatic monologue in his pieces to highlight certain themes and the nature of the characters (Kennedy & Gloria, 2016). The dramatic monologue includes a speaker who is addressing an unmentioned audience whereby the speaker is conversing directly with the audience. It can be perceived that using the monologue enabled Browning to identify and assess the minds of the main characters in a certain situation and when faced with particular circumstances. The dramatic monologues enable the audience to comprehend the minds of the characters and to view their situation from their point of view. When a reader views a situation from a characters point of view, it becomes easier to sympathize with the character in addition to comprehending the multiple views in regards to the associated truth (Kennedy & Gloria, 2016). The multiple views, in this case, illustrate that it is not possible for individuals to view a situation similarly; every individual has his or her way of interpreting situations. In My Last Duchess, one can easily understand the Dukes feelings and intentions for causing his wifes death. The use of dramatic monologue also makes it easier to comprehend the reasons that make the Duke show the visitor the portrait of the late Duchess (Kennedy & Gloria, 2016). The possible reason, in this case, is to illustrate that he requires loyalty and respect from his next wife and that there tend to be consequences if he is not respected. On the aspect on multiple views, the visitor might view the Duke as cynical who might intend to harm the next duchess if she misbehaves similarly to the previous duchess. He may also view the Duke as an individual who requires loyalty. The use of dramatic monologue by Browning in the poem can be perceived to allow the reader to understand the psychology of the Duke. The Duke can be viewed as intelligent and crafty whereby he reveals to have killed his wife but does not include any sense of remorse (Kennedy & Gloria, 2016). Through the monologue, the theme of jealousy is highlighted whereby the Duke is portrayed to be filled with jealousy which eventually resulted in his wifes death (Kennedy & Gloria, 2016). The Duke states, Wheneer I passed her; but who passed without Much the same smile? (Browning, 2017).
The literary merit of the piece is to indicate the relationship between morality and art. It can be perceived that Browning distances himself from the piece whereby he includes an immoral issue but alienates the issue from himself through dramatic monologue. He leaves the reader to make the judgment of the Duke rather than including his view regarding the Dukes actions. From a practical perspective, the Duke can get away with the crime since the creator and the audience do not present any judgment (Kennedy & Gloria, 2016).
As stated earlier, the analysis puts into view the use of dramatic monologue to illustrate the nature of the main character and the themes and the literary merit of My Last Duchess by Richard Browning. The use of a dramatic monologue is the main literary aspect used by Browning. Through the use of dramatic monologue, one gets to understand the Dukes minds and his intentions for showing the portrait to the visitor.
Browning, R. (2017). My Last Duchess. Retrieved from http://media.pearsoncmg.com/pcp/pcp_97542_lit_lu/video/43_browni01/lecture.html.
Kennedy, X.J. & Gloria, D. (2016). Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. 8th edition. New York: Pearson.
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